Violence Against Women and Girls
We deal with some of the most serious and sensitive cases involving police misconduct.
Recent high profile cases and the subsequent reviews into policing have led to increased public concern about the police's response to Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). They have also raised questions about the cultural attitudes towards women and girls in policing more generally.
To shine a light on this growing area of concern and to help to drive improvements in policing where necessary, we have developed a thematic programme of work to tackle VAWG.
Guide to our VAWG work
We aim to:
- improve public trust and confidence in the police response to VAWG.
- hold the police to account for their response to VAWG.
- identify and share learning from VAWG cases to improve policing practice and prevent future harm.
- ensure the public understand our role within the police handling of VAWG matters.
Our definition of Violence against Women and Girls is:
The term ‘violence against women and girls’ refers to acts of violence or abuse that we know disproportionately affect women and girls. Crimes and behaviour covered by this term include rape and other sexual offences, domestic abuse, stalking, ‘honour’-based abuse (including female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and ‘honour’ killings), as well as many others, including offences committed online."
When we use the definition, we are referring to circumstances where at least one victim is a woman or a girl (including transgender women and girls) or is perceived as such.
Our work will include all matters falling within our definition, with a focus on police perpetrated VAWG. Child sexual abuse investigations are covered under our existing core work, including Operation Linden, our investigations centred around Rotherham.
Although we have recently refocused our efforts in this area, we have a history of tackling issues relating to VAWG.
In recent years:
- We worked closely with the College of Policing, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services and the Centre for Women’s Justice super complaint into Police Perpetrated Domestic Abuse.
- We published statistical analysis of referrals relating to violence against women and girls to help identify where improvements can be made and provide comparator data for future analysis.
- We launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the Silent Solution system.
- We shared learning recommendations with the police in this area, such as our report into Operation Hotton which uncovered significant issues around sexism, harassment and misogyny at Charing Cross police station.
- We published a Learning the Lessons magazine dedicated to the abuse of power for sexual purpose within policing.
- We worked closely with the NPCC, Women’s Aid and Welsh Women’s Aid to help raise awareness of the #youarenotalone campaign.
Our plans for this area include:
- An awareness campaign, focused on victims and the organisations who support them – to help build trust and confidence in policing and the complaints system.
- A review of the police's handling of complaints and conduct matters relating to VAWG, including the treatment of victims to highlight any concerns with individual forces, and identify where improvements can be made.
- We will deliver the actions made as a result of the Centre for Women’s Justice super complaint on police perpetrated domestic abuse.
- We will produce a language guidance document to prevent, and discourage victim blaming.